May 16, 2013
At the opening plenary of the GBCHealth Conference, Ray Chambers, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and for Malaria issued a new mantra to attendees. The key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, he said, is “Global Fund, Global Fund, Global Fund.”
Later that day, a panel of experts came together for a closer look at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world’s largest financier of health, which supports programs fighting the three diseases in more than 150 countries.
Moderator Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations, teed off the conversation with an overview of recent changes at the Global Fund, including the introduction of a new Executive Director, Dr. Mark Dybul. Garrett noted the Global Fund is entering its fourth replenishment cycle, during which it is asking international donors to contribute $15 billion dollars to fund grant programs in 2014-2016.
Dybul then pointed out the significance of a replenishment at this moment in time, citing evolutions in science, epidemiology, and implementation knowledge that he said positions the world to completely control the diseases.
He explained that the Global Fund was designed based on a new approach to development—one driven by local ownership, results, and partnership across sectors. As the landscape of the diseases has changed over time, so too has the Global Fund, building on its core principles while finding new ways to address an evolving reality.
Stressing the important role of Global Fund partners—technical agencies, bilateral donors, civil society, country leaders, the private sector, and others—Dybul said, “We are living the partnership that we were created to be.”
The conversation then turned to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby, representing one of the Global Fund’s central partners and donors, the U.S. government and its bilateral AIDS program: the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Goosby similarly highlighted the unique opportunity before the world to stave these epidemics and save lives. He reminded the room that the fight is a “shared responsibility”—and that the Global Fund provides a key conduit for countries to contribute to that fight. He explained that, from a U.S. perspective, working through both the bilateral PEPFAR program and the multilateral Global Fund is essential. “We can save more lives if we do it together,” he said.
Dr. Brian Brink, Chief Medical Officer of Anglo American plc, and the head of the Private Sector Delegation to the Global Fund Board, then called on business leaders to step up their support for the Global Fund. He set a clear goal: contribute one-tenth of the total replenishment target, amounting to $1.5 billion over three years. Building the case, he extolled the importance of the Global Fund, explained the tremendous return on investment, and flagged the need to show government donors they are not alone.
“If we can find 500 companies around the world that are willing to pledge $1 million dollars a year for three years, that gives us the money that we need,” said Brink. “It’s not a contribution, it’s an investment.”
He echoed what many had suggested throughout the day: when it comes to investing in a healthier future, “it’s now or never.”